Archive for February, 2008

A giant grouper.Image via WikipediaWhile I and my buddies were in northern Quebec on our fly-in fishing trip there were Lake trout in the shallow bays but my buddies, well except Kerry, were blind to their presence.

The proper sunglasses was made the difference. Kerry and I could look out over the water and see the Lake trout swimming around, just below the surface.

I was out on my own using my Hummingbird fish finder to finds some big Lake trout when I thought I saw a splash in a little bay. Thinking it was a brook trout I headed in to make a few casts with my flyrod.

BAM!! The first cast. It wasn’t a brook trout at all, as it turned out it was a Lake trout at about 6 or 8 pounds. As I was fighting this little surprise I was looking around and saw that he wasn’t alone, there were dozens of them in this little bay.

I had to make a decision, keep fishing and tell my buddies later or stop fishing and take the 20 minute boat ride back to the camp to tell them. Well I love fishing with friends so I stopped, after two more fish, and headed back. Would have been a great time to have a two-way radio.

When we returned I was the only one with a flyrod but both Kerry and I had on polarized sunglasses. Unfortunately the other 3 guys didn’t. But like I said I like to fish with friends and I like us all to be catching fish.

I told Kerry it was time for him to migrate to one of the other boats and we would fish three to a boat for a while. That way I could direct those casting from my boat and Kerry could do the same in his boat.

I little trick we both tried was to switch glasses with a buddy that didn’t have a fish on. That way they could see where they were while we were fighting our fish.

It is so important to have the right gear when you go out on the water.

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Fishing Trip Tips

Fishing can be an exciting yet relaxing way to spend your weekends. It has been proven that fishing is one of the all-time treasured experiences of thousands of American families. However, any sport has its dangerous side and fishing is no exemption.

Majority of fishing equipment have sharp tools such as metal hooks which may lead to accidents when the fishing environment unexpectedly changes for the worse. Storms, hurricanes, wild currents, and other mishaps, could spoil your fishing trip.

If you are planning to go on a fishing expedition with family or friends, here is a list of urgent situations and what preparations you need to face each scenario.

1) Weather – Before packing up your bags and traveling to you fishing spot, consult or be aware of the weather conditions for the day and the following days. Whether you are fishing on shores or in a boat, you should be cautious of the conditions such as flash floods, storm movements and darkening of the skies. When signals such as extreme lightning strikes, you should head to dry land immediately.

Having a sun-drenched day is not really an “appropriate fishing day.” You should be aware that spending many hours with exposure to the sun could damage your skin. Be prepared by bringing sun block to avoid sunburns. You should be aware of heat sickness symptoms such as nausea, breathing difficulty, lightheadedness, and unable to concentrate on tasks. Prepare a supply of water or liquid beverages to keep hydrated.

2) Sharp fishing equipments – Since fishing includes many sharp tools, you should always be prepared to treat injuries by packing disinfectants such as medicated lotion or spray and hydrogen peroxide. If an incident leads the skin to bleed, you would need bandages, cotton or paper towel. Bring your own first aid kit.

3) Tangles – One of the most common fishing hindrances is wherein your line is caught in anything surrounding your fishing spot such as trees, logs, etc. Try to get your line or fishing rod out of the tangle immediately to avoid the problem that could lead into a major accident. You could either snap off the branches of the tree or carefully and slowly remove your line away from where it is tangled.

4) Bait – When you run out of bait, it could spoil your while fishing trip. Avoid this by splitting up the rest of the bait into halves, quarters or thirds. The worm, even if divided, could still move, so the divided worms could still lure your target fish.

Be prepared to face any scenario to keep your fishing adventure as relaxed as possible. With all these in mind, you could enjoy your fishing trip safely and successfully.

hummingbirdfishfinder

Knowing the structure that lies beneath the waters that you fish in can be the difference between catching and just fishing.

I remember back when I was a kid I took an old bucket, cut the bottom out of it and glued a piece of glass into the bottom. It took me a while to get it water proof and it looked pretty ugly but guess what. It allowed me to see below the top of the water without sticking my head in the water. I was pretty proud of it and I could see my dad was impressed too.

Way back then I called structure ‘hiding places’. I even took my bucket with me when we went to the ranch where we kept our cattle all summer. They had a lake right in the middle of their property and only one other farm on the whole lake.

I was too young to take the boat out on my own but I would put on my life jacket and sit in the boat with my bucket over the side just watching all the life and activity beneath the boat.

Today I have become a little more suffisticated and use a Hummingbird fish finder. It saves me so much time on new waters. I was sold on fish finders when five of us went on a fly-in fishing trip to northern Quebec. I was the only one with a fish finder and we had three boats.

We had 7 days with an entire lake to ourselves. There was an island in center with a beautiful cottage but no one was there all week. It was a really remote location, accessable only by plane so I imagine it took some bucks to build that cottage.

We got settled in to our cabin had a bite to eat and then it was off to the boats. None of them knew I had a fish finder and of course they all wanted a crack at it but I said no way. I did say that each day I would switch fishing partners so they could all try it out.

Well every single day my boat caught more fish and bigger fish. We eliminated so much water and found other water that we might never have bothered with because the clues were all below the surface.

My partner and I out fished the others so much that they just started following us.

The fly-in fishing trip was my first so it is special but the quality of the fishing and accomodations were less than promised. I was the only one that practice total catch and release while the others wanted trophies. The fridge freezer quite working near the end of the week and they all lost their trophies while mine were still swimming around.

But honestly I would have slept in a tent and used canoes so we had it pretty easy for being so remote.

The happy memories would not have been so happy had I not brought my Hummingbird fish finder.The fact that I out fished the others with my fish finder proved to me that we would have been crying by the end of the week.

I don’t swear by Hummingbird, not at all. I am glad to have it and it works for me but I have never tried any other kind. I think just having one for those times you are fishing new waters is worth the investment.

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Preparing For Our First Fly-In Fishing Trip

fly-in-fishing-trip

The five of us were beside ourselves with excitement. None of us had been on a real fishing trip let alone a fly-in fishing trip to northern Quebec. Heck only two of us were experience fishers while the other three we kind of behind the house stream fishermen and maybe a little Mackerel fishing.

We had about 4 months to prepare which probably cost me hundreds more than was necessary but it was a once in a lifetime trip so it was going to be worth it. I wanted all new fishing equipment and so did my buddy Kerry.

My job didn’t give me spending money after all the bills were paid so I had to come up with something else that would help me buy new fishing equipment. But what could I do, I was far too busy at the one job I had to think about a second job, even if it were only temporary. Then it came to me…

I was spending about $10.00 a day on unnecessary things like coffee, muffins and pop. I decided I would give up those things until after our fishing trip. Kerry worked with me and was in the same boat so he decided he would give up the coffee, muffins and pop as well.

Our three other partners in this fishing trip didn’t need the extra money as they didn’t care what they took with them as long as it was beer. I think we had more weight in beer than all our other gear.

Note: I don’t drink and fish and I don’t let any one else either so even though we had a ton of beer it was for after a long hard day of fishing.

I was really blown away by how much I had been spending on food at work when I could have been bringing from home as part of our grocery bill. Live and learn and save.

$10.00 a day, five days a week equals $50.00, man what a waste. It didn’t take very long to start buying new fishing gear. Both Kerry and I bought exactly the same things.

New fishing vests, boots, waders, rods, reels, lures and flies… We looked like twins, well I was about 60 pounds over weight and Kerry wasn’t but other than that we looked a lot a like all decked out in our new gear. The only thing I bought that Kerry didn’t was a fish finder which came in handy for those huge Lake Trout.

The place we were flying out of gave us a pretty detailed list of what we should take. After all we were going into a place so far north it took a couple of hours to fly there so any problems would result in a two hour flight both ways. We didn’t want to spoil our trip so we followed the list as close as we could.

More about our fly in fishing trip in another post.

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Fly Tying Tips and Tools

Tying your own flies can be very rewarding and relaxing. It also has another benefit in giving you something to do if you are unfortunate to live where the rivers are frozen in winter, or fly fishing is closed for some months each year.

The tools are simple. You could make most of them yourself, however it would be best for beginners to buy at least a fly tying vice. There have been over the years quite a number of different vice types manufacturered. In my opinion, the cam type of vice is the easiest to use. This is a vice that has a cam lever to open and close the jaws. It’s adjustable to various angles and hook sizes. Quick and easy to open and close.

The next thing to get your hands on are some hackle pliers. These are also a cheap spend, but really worthwhile. They are a little difficult to make a pair yourself.

Apart from these items, you’ll need a pair of curved scissors with sharp points and another set with small straight blades. You probably could also do with a needle that is pushed into a stick. This is for fixing hakkles that have been inadvertantly wound under. You can also use it for putting laquer onto the finished head.

What sort of hooks should you use? My advice is to not fall for the trap of using any old hook. Buy proper fly hooks. These have a tapered shank and are usually hollow ground. These are lighter than normal hooks, a real advantage in dry flies.

The tapered shank lets the head, especially the eye of the fly be tied tighter and smaller. When you consider the work involved in tying a fly, why waste effort on the wrong hook. If you make a mistake, all you need to do is cut the fly off the hook and start again.

Something you could consider these days is the opportunity of actually buying a complete fly tying set. These sets cost only around $50 or so. They have vices, scissors, pliers, hooks and all the feathers and fur you need to get started. Some even come with videos or DVD’s.

Whichever way you go, it is a cheap way to spend many an hour, in preparation of catching your next bag of fish. The satisfaction of catching your next trout on a fly you tied yourself is imeasureable.

Salmon Fishing on the Fly Rod

General salmon information and fishing tips:

  1. Generally, the best times of the day are during the times when there is low light and so too, on cloudy days. On bright and sunny days, salmon will usually collect and assemble deep in the holes.
  2. Take note that salmon do not feed while in the river. When they do strike, it is a behavior that is learned. Salmons are known to be predatory and aggressive when in the lake, up until they go into the river.
  3. Set the hook by yanking downstream with your rod three times. To get a better set, pulling on the line with your free hand can help. Sometimes, when you lift the rod straight up, it will pull the fly out of the mouth of the salmon.
  4. In order for the hook to go through the thick jaws of the salmon, you should always sharpen your hooks.
  5. Fishing with a partner can be enjoyable and at the same time help each other to spot a salmon. While one is fishing, the other can be high up on the other side of the bank observing the reaction of the salmon and where exactly they are. Polarized glasses are very helpful when doing this and would bring satisfying results.
  6. Finding a good hole where there are many salmon inside and you can fish there for the whole day!
  7. Your weight as well as the length of the tippet should be adjusted so that it matches the holes depth and the depth of the fish. Your weight should not drag, but should only touch the bottom every now and then. Note that a tippet that is three feet long will set the fly six inches up to two feet off the bottom.
  8. By adding a foam indicator at the top of your fly, you can get your fly higher in the water column.

Fly fishing tips:

Chuck-n-duck is the most familiar and easiest, method in using a fly rod to fish for salmon.

Popular four line formulas for chuck-n-duck:

The River Guide

100+ yards of 30 pounds backing
20 feet of Amnesia line
100 feet of shooting line
3-6 feet of Maxima monofilament (6-8 lb. test)
20 feet of Maxima monofilament (12 lb. test)
Swivels and weight

The Simple Set-Up

100+ yards of 30 pounds backing
10 feet of Maxima monofilament (12 lb. test)
100 feet of shooting line
Swivels and weight
3-4 feet of Maxima monofilament (6-8 lb. test)

The simple and cheap Set-up

100+ yards of 30 lb. backing
100 feet of Amnesia line (15 lb. test)
20 feet of Maxima monofilament (12 lb. test)
Swivels and weight
3-6 feet of Maxima monofilament (6-8 lb. test)

The combo

100+ yards of 30 pounds backing
100 feet of shooting or Amnesia line
3-12 feet of Maxima monofilament (10-20 lb. test)
Swivels and weight
4-10 feet of Maxima monofilament (2-12 lb. test)

Fishing as Family Activity

Many people love to go fishing, instead of playing tennis or golf. Others make it their primary sport activity together with their families and friends to relieve boredom and stress. Surveys say that more than 50 million Americans love to go fishing and make it their lifestyle option instead of other sports.

In Alabama, fishing represents a substantial impact on the state economy. Hundreds of millions of dollars are represented and about 20,000 people list fishing as their source of livelihood. However, most people consider it as a form of relaxation and a family activity. In general, it is a lifestyle option.

In the book titled “The Incomplete Psychology of Everyday Fishing;” psychologist Paul G. Quinnett dedicated an entire chapter about fishing as a source to relieve stress. In the chapter, “Ethics of Fishing” he points out that a person must appreciate and enjoy the benefits of nature. He also highlighted that fishing correct is a way for an individual to become more disciplined in his lifestyle.

“Family Life First,” an organization dedicated to introducing how to spend useful family time to parents for their children, have factual data that in the past 20 years, 25 percent of a child’s playing time has decreased. Outdoor activities, where most children spend their playing time, have also declined by 50 percent. Since 1969 to 1996, 22 percent of family time activities have lessened proven by the study of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Any fruitful time to interact with your children is time worth investing. Fishing is a way to connect. The quality time you get is really worth the effort. The experience you get by catching fish is what makes it wonderful to enjoy and that is the important part of fishing. There are 23 public fishing lakes having plenty of fish waiting to be caught. All children can experience the excitement and adventure of fishing. You will always remember the very first time you caught a fish, and the parent who showed you how to catch it. You gain enjoyable and learning experiences from fishing that makes it a great family activity.

Alabama, for example, promotes its lakes and open banks as places best for fishing. You do not even need a boat to catch fish. There are also stores where you can find what you need for fishing. You may bring your family with you and the time of being together and enjoying the fun of fishing is the best family activity you could have.